I want to talk a little about our broke-ass approach to our engagement. Ever since I saw the movie “Blood Diamond” in 2006, I decided that I wanted an engagement ring with an ethically sourced stone. Mind you, i was 19 and single at the time, so my thought process pretty much stopped there. Flash forward nine years, Evan and I had been living together for a while and we had began to discuss marriage, so I began to explore my thoughts on sparkly rocks a little bit more. I was happy to find that there were lots of alternative gems out there, thanks to articles like this. For me, even without ethical concerns, I just didn’t see the appeal of a diamond. I had never owned diamond jewelry before and never felt that I was missing out. Knowing that if I chose a different stone, I could spend a lot less money and still get a pretty and meaningful ring, well, it, to me it just seemed like an obvious choice. That is what my partner and I chose based on our values, as everyone should do for themselves! Some people don’t even do engagement rings at all, and that’s great too! Do you! I just think it’s important that we are given the capacity to make an informed choice — to know that diamonds aren’t the only possibility, and that how much money your partner spends on a ring doesn’t indicate a direct correlation to how much your partner loves you. Forget that!

Plus, the idea behind moissanite is SO cool to me. Being a huge sci-fi nerd, having a gem that’s synthesized based on particles FROM SPACE is pretty freaking cool. So, I told Evan that’s what I wanted. He picked out an absolutely beautiful gem for a very reasonable amount, and we saved the rest to furnish our new apartment without going into debt. Nobody has been able to tell that my ring was not a diamond based on how it looks, but I’ve also been very open about it — my intention was never to fool anyone into thinking my fiance dropped stacks on my engagement ring. I’m happy to report that not a single person has judged me for it (I wouldn’t stand for it if they did, obviously), and two of my friends were so taken by the idea they asked their significant others for moissanite rings when they pop the question.

Oh, right — maybe you want to see it.

Real Bride Holly's moissanite engagement ring

Do you have a story behind the ring that you and your partner chose? I’d love to hear it!

  • 10/24

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewFlowers were not a priority for me in the wedding planning process. I gave the florist a few photos and gave them full control. I have to say, I was blown away by my bouquet on my wedding day! It was exactly what I would have asked for if I could have put it in to words. I was thrilled, but sad at the same time, because I knew that their beauty was fleeting. The day after the wedding, I went right to Google to search for ways to preserve flowers. Everyone knows about the old “hang the bouquet upside down” trick, but that leaves the flowers brown and brittle. In my search, I found a few posts on using silica gel to dry flowers, but maintains their shape and color. I had to try it!


    Credit: Boucher Visuals

    I went to Michael’s and bought two boxes of Activa Flower Drying Art Silica Gel, basically the same stuff that is in those little packets when you buy new shoes, but in a much larger quantity. I also picked up an air- and water-tight plastic storage box, but I’m sure any secure plastic box would work.


    After deconstructing — massacring — my beautiful bouquet, I layered the silica powder with flowers, set the flowers upright in the powder and covered each layer of flowers with enough gel to cover them completely. In the process, some flowers, like roses, will fill with powder which helps them maintain their shape. I used a little more than two boxes of the silica, but I think the box I used was too big, so I need extra to fill the gaps in my layers.


    The next step is to wait.

    And wait.

    I would suggest leaving them in the box for at least two weeks. When you open the box, you need to go on an archaeological dig for the flowers. This is a delicate process. I covered the surface with a plastic bag to collect the gel that fell off the flowers as I took them out. Many of the smaller ones disintegrated, so I had to be very careful in removing them.


    Once they were out, I tried to shake them off the best I could to remove excess silica. To display them, I arranged them in a shadowbox. The original one I bought was too big since the flowers shrunk down a lot as they dried. I ended up using an 88 box, and it was perfect. The background was a black fabric, so I bought a piece of decorative paper to dress it up a bit. Then I arranged the flowers and glued them to the back of the box. I’m so glad I have a way to keep enjoying my flowers and remember the day.


    Do you have any special plans for your flowers after your wedding day?

  • 10/21

    Personalized Pocket Square

    Personalized Beer Cooler, $30 from Etsy seller HeritageWedding Gifting is hard. Gifting on a budget is really hard. Especially when it's for your favorite dudes. You want to get your groomsmen something awesome, yet thoughtful — but holy crap everything always seems so expensive. While it would be nice to be able to get them all big screen TVs or spring for a dudes' trip…

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    Berta 16-03

    Ok, guys, I'm giving this column a go until I get one of you worthy darlings to step in for me (plz, do that. Email info@brokeassbride.com with #CAIGOI as the subject to apply. Details can be found here)! Until then, I'm scooting into the fashionista seat to see how I fare at finding you baller-ass Get Over It gowns. First up: Reader Sarah commented on this post asking:…

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    Real Bride Danielle Engagement Photo1

    So you’ve got the ring, booked the date, and found your photographer. It's time for an engagement shoot! If your photographer offers an engagement shoot for free (all the ones I looked at did) then jump on getting these prints. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the date for our engagement photos so I could put them on our wedding website. Our pending nuptials brought me face…

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  • 10/18

    Real Bride Ciji's Paperless Post Save the Date announcement

    Some ladies dream of the perfect wedding dress, others dream of the Prince(ess) Charming that will meet them at the end of the aisle and many dream of the minute that they will say "I do." Before I joined the sorority of engaged ladies, I too dreamed of the above but the most pressing dream and the images that keep me up at night are the…

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    Cash Wallet by BlackArrowStudio

    Cash Wallet, $56 by Etsy seller BlackArrowStudio I've been wracking my brain to come up with some truly epic wedding advice for you, BABs. This being my last advice post for The Broke-Ass Bride for the moment, I'm feeling some (self-imposed) pressure to get it right! 😉 I hope you enjoy it, and remember that you can always reply in the comments or email BAB directly…

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    Julie Vino Jessica Style 706

    Reader Elizabeth NEEDS our help finding a Julie Vino look-alike that's a little less wedding gown and a little more evening attire. She writes: "I NEED to find a Julie Vino dress that I can afford, preferably under $1,000. I want the Jessica dress, style #706, from the 2014 Spring collection. I need something that doesn't look like a wedding gown but an evening gown…

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  • 10/12


    So we did it! We're officially married! We had a beautiful, although a bit chilly, day in Vermont, but it didn't rain or snow, so I'll take it! It's been almost two weeks now, and I've had some time to reflect on the experience. Here's some advice for the brides-in-planning out there. Photo courtesy of Joel Boucher of Boucher Visuals People always say it goes…

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